New exhibition "Law Needs Feminism Because" puts spotlight on gender inequality in the legal profession
MSDI's Associate Professor Becky Batagol has teamed up with Monash law student Maria Pirozek to bring the hugely successful the "Law Needs Feminism Because" project to Australia.
Originally a Canadian-based photography project, Law Needs Feminism Because (LNFB) has now spread across 18 Canadian universities. The Australian exhibition which helps shine a light on Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities) was officially launched on September 4 at the University's Law Library at Clayton, marks the first time the project has been launched outside of North America.
Running until the end of the year, the Australian exhibition features 31 photographic portraits of Monash law students, staff and alumni, standing in front of the powerful statements they have handwritten in a bid to challenge viewers, raise questions and spark conversations about gender in the law and within the legal profession.
After seeing the project while visiting Canada in 2018, Associate Professor Batagol said she knew she had to bring it to Australia, and enlisted the help of law student Maria Pirozek.
"Students who have participated in the project in North America have reported better preparation for professional practice, deeper engagement with curriculum, closer relationships among student cohorts and greater engagement in research practice," she said.
The portraits include Monash Pro-Vice Chancellor Jacinta Elston, stating "the imprisonment rates of Indigenous Australian women is a national DISGRACE"; law student, Indianna Wickes who is "already worried about how having kids is going to affect my career"; Nahum Mushin, the first graduate of Monash Law to become a judge; and Victorian Solicitor-General Marlo Baragwanath.
Associate Professor Batagol, who is also featured in the exhibition, alongisde the quote 'Law Needs Feminism Because our legal system still demands too much from survivors of sexual assault," says the confronting exhibition helps prepare students for the realities of gender inequality in the legal profession.
"We chose an art exhibition because it would allow students to see the issues of harassment, violence, discrimination and vulnerability faced by women in the legal system and legal profession through new eyes," she said.